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Astros take Correa in surprise top choice

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 4 (UPI) -- The Houston Astros made a surprise pick with the No. 1 overall draft choice Monday, taking Puerto Rican infielder Carlos Correa.

Correa, who has been compared to the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, plays for the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He is the highest-ever selection from his country.

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Many had expected the Astros to select Stanford University pitcher Mark Appel or Georgia prep outfielder Byron Buxton with the top choice.

Correa joins Phil Nevin (1992) and pitcher Floyd Bannister (1976) as a first-overall draft pick by the Astros. He is rated as having above-average range at shortstop, a good arm and tremendous bat speed at the plate.

The Minnesota Twins took the 18-year-old Buxton with the No. 2 pick. The high schooler, rated the best overall amateur player in the draft, batted .513 and posted a 10-1 record as a pitcher for his high school team.

The Seattle Mariners took Florida catcher Mike Zunino third, while the Baltimore Orioles picked Louisiana State's Kevin Gausman with the No. 4 choice and the Kansas City Royals took University of San Francisco hurler Kyle Zimmer at No. 5.

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Appel slipped to No.8, taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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